day 11151: a journey always seems longer when you're in the middle of it, but it's over in a blink of an eye
It was a beautiful Sunday, the weather was gorgeous, and after dim sum on the waterfront, what more could a girl possibly ask for?
It's dragonboat weekend, but you would never have known it unless you paid attentional to the nonsensical wording on some poor asian kid's fake Mickey Mouse t-shirt. By the time ICBBQ and I finish brunch there's only 9 more hours of sunlight left. I wonder how far I would get. We start at the base of Yonge Street and walk north, ICBBQ humouring me every other step as I stop and take picture after picture on my fancy schmancy camera I still don't really know how to use properly. Thank goodness for the Auto function.
Funny how I lived here for years, and never took a single picture. I always meant to bring my camera with me on my early morning dog walks. Cold wintery mornings were breathtakingly calm as the deep orange of the rising sun filtered it's way through the icy winter mist. But then again, cold wintery mornings on the waterfront were breathtaking for a different reason... damn wind coming off the lake...
But it's not too late, and if all goes well, one day I will be back downtown on the waterfront again. My condo still hasn't closed and I think every day that I'm getting screwed somehow. Actually, I secretly hope the deal will fall through, and I won't be stuck with a monster mortgage. I'm terrified of ties and commitment, and owning my own place seems so terrifying and permanent. We pass by my future "2 bedroom corner unit with a view of downtown," stop dead and burst out laughing. The Immigrant Family stands in front, rendering something formerly reasonably classy into a cartoon joke.
We go our separate ways, and I keep heading north. The thought first and foremost on my mind is "Where the heck can I pee?" Endless cups of tea at dim sum reduces one to a blabbering idiot constantly in search of a clean washroom. Luckily, it's pretty damn hot out there in the asphalt jungle... maybe I won't have to go that badly. The stretch between Dundas and Bloor is a lot of the same... dollar stores, XXX neon signs, and semi-mediocre (maybe a gem or two) restaurants somewhere in the middle. Ok, there's more than that, and I'm generalizing, but it's early on in the day, and I was paying more attention to the cute gay couples wandering up and down the street.
Life goes on, and on I plod. Just north of Bloor, I see the BEST THING I'VE EVER SEEN and damnit, if I couldn't get a picture. A woman is riding a classic honda, hubby and doggie in the sidecar... all wearing matching white helmets. What an awesome picture that would have been, but by the time I dig through my knapsack for the camera, they've roared off into the distance. I want to run after them and beg for a photoshoot... too bad I'm on foot. Argh. There's a little winding side road that I want to explore a little further, but I'm going to save that for next time, when I'm on my bike and can cover more territory.
The part I had been looking forward to during this journey is dismally disappointing. Summerhill seems deserted. A lot of cars driving around, but the furniture stores are dark and closed. I tour the largest liquor store in the country for the first time, and keep heading north. Somehow, brown paper bagging it on such a hot day seems like a bad idea. Besides, I've got patio plans up at Eglinton anyway.
I detour into Mount Pleasant and walk the blue line of the Discovery trail. Mount Pleasant is one of the oldest cemeteries in the city, and as morbid as it seems, the intermingling of the tombstones and graves of the fathers of the city versus the simplicity of the modern styles is fascinating. The history of the city (and the country) literally lies at my feet.
The blue line eventually leads to my grandfather's plot. It's Father's Day so I stop by and spend a few moments clearing away weeds from the flowers. I can't tell if anyone else has been by today. The chrysanthemums still look fresh, but they've been planted into the ground, so they could have been from weeks ago. I remember when there was no one else buried on this hillside. As children, we used to skip up and down, playing while the adults cleaned up the mess the winter left behind. Now I have to pick my way through all the markers. I'm a wee bit superstitious about stepping on anyone.
I backtrack the Discovery trail and keep heading north. Two furniture shops - one a little pretentious with overpriced imitation crap they're selling to people with too much money, and the other a little hokey in the custom furniture they're trying to pass off as a modern solution to the old space problem. Neither of them work for me. I get trapped talking to a salesman trying to sell me a "raft." Note to self, must learn not to be so chatty, no wonder 60 year old men are trying to pick me up in bars.
I pass my favourite Italian restaurant in the city, and keep wandering up looking for the perfect patio. Strange how little patios there are between Roehampton and Sporting Life. I have to walk back three blocks because I forgot to check out the Cupcake Shoppe. No way am I going to post pictures of that place or their cupcakes. Not bad, but I can do better.
Is it bad of me to say that my favourite parts of the day are the times when I'm sitting down and eating? I love a good patio. And it's the perfect day to sit outside and not do a single thing. It's past lunch, and I'm more thirsty than hungry. My Strongbow craving directed the patio, and it was a while before I found Mad Monty's and some good conversation. Smartie is always a riot. We flirt like crazy with each other, and have done so since the day we met. Luckily, neither of us take the other seriously.
5:00 and it's time to move on. I only have three hours of walking time left, and one last stop to make before I have to be at my cousin's place to work on the wedding video. North of Lawrence to Sheppard is brutal. Nothing to see, not much to do. The hill north of York Mills is a killer... note to anyone else walking north of Yonge - stay on the EAST side... sidewalk ends on the west, and it's a little dodgy jaywalking the 401 offramp on my shakey-Elvis legs. I'm bored adn almost ready to call it quits, but in reality, I'm halfway between subway stations, so there's not much I can do. I must walk on.
Is it me, or do the people on the patio seem that much slimier north of Sheppard? Two guys walk ahead of me. One is dressed all in white with a white knapsack, the other all in black with a black knapsack. I notice that he's wearing LuluLemon pants and puma sneakers. I really hope he's a dancer... otherwise... wellllll... when did I ever become a fashion critic?
One last stop. A few years before he died, my dad, my sister and I biked through York. We stopped at the fountain they were in the process of building, and stopped on a hillside he said was where his plot was going to be. I think I was thirteen at the time, so I was more interested in the fountain than the plot. Did I ever mention that I come from a family of planners? It's funny what you remember. North York used to be mostly farm land. I used to feed horses at Leslie and Finch, and people used to rent tiny plots of land in the cemetary to grow vegetables. There was a school nearby at one point, I remember hearing the school bell ring on the day of the funeral. Happy Fathers day, Da.
I'm tired, and it's getting late. Off to the cousin's place for 8:00. (Oooh, that rhymes.) I'm thirsty, tired, and cranky as hell, but damn happy that I've managed to walk this far. One last discovery... the Korean butcher just north of Byng sells marinated LA Kalbi... $19.47 for 3.92lbs. PAT on Bloor is better, but this is closer to home. I can't wait until my next BBQ... mmm... kalbi...
(total distance travelled... including detours... 20km...)